Politics frequently tops the list of trending topics as measured by Google, and today was no exception. Following Britain's vote to leave the European Union, the top two stories searched for on Google in the US were about the membership referendum.
Search terms related to the EU, the UK, and the economy were surging yesterday even before the final votes had been tallied. Gibraltar was the first area of the UK to declare its results, and following the victory of the "remain" campaign there, Londoners' searches for "Move to Gibraltar" spiked 680 percent. London also voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU.
Ireland was also a popular potential escape plan for those disheartened by the vote, with a 100 percent spike in UK searches for "getting an Irish passport." After Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would resign today, "Who will replace David Cameron?" also spiked.
In the US, Google search interest in the referendum was highest in the Northeast and along the West Coast. In the San Francisco Bay Area, referendum searches were at an all-time high today, mirroring similar trends in New York City and Washington, D.C. Most of the South and the Midwest, meanwhile, saw little movement in Brexit search terms. (Google has been tracking referendum searches since February and normalizes them on a 0-100 scale).
Worldwide, Google searchers were worried about the economic impacts of the decision. Search interest in "pound sterling," the UK's currency, reached its highest level globally since 2004, according to Google trends. There was also a 500 percent spike in searches for "buy gold."
On Twitter, meanwhile, people expressed their elation and apprehension about the decision to leave. US presidential candidate Donald Trump was in Scotland during the vote, and tweeted, "They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!" Scotland, though, was one of the areas of the UK where the "stay" vote had a significant majority.
Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2016
It remains to be seen how the vote will affect the tech industry. In a statement, UK-based ARM said "Brexit will not have a significant impact on our business as almost all of our earnings come from outside the EU zone, but we will watch the negotiations closely, particularly on the subject of visas, as we employ approximately 200 non-UK EU citizens at our Cambridge headquarters. We may lose some EU research grants but these have represented less than one percent of our R&D spend in the last three years and we hope to see this picked up by the UK Government."